My father passed away when I was 21 and it was the first time I was faced with the concept of death. I was reading, The Third Eye by: T.Lobsang Rampa at the time and I think it was the only reason I understood what death really was and was able to learn and grow from it. The book is about a boys journey into becoming a Tibetan monk. When one of the older monks died they simply took his body and broke it in to pieces and left it on the rocks so that the vultures could eat it. When the boy asked why they did this he was told that it was to continue the circle of life and allow the monk to evolve into nutrition for the vultures. I know you’re saying, “Lavall stop with the Kung foolishness and get to the point.”  My point is this is exactly how nature works and the death of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is only it’s evolution into search becoming more social.

Don’t Worry SEO is Just Dying Again

Before I explain why it is natural that SEO will evolve into a more social type of search I want to point out that SEO died again in 2007 (meaning that it must have died some time before that ) and has died several times since then. The Forbes article at the top of the list triggered this post because if you are not on the front lines of the SEO world then you might be think that the sky is falling. But alas dear readers SEO is in a perpetual state of decay and will die many more times as it evolves into a more intuitive and efficient practice, which I believe the Forbes article points out.

The Death Of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, And Real Content – Forbes ( July 2012)

SEO is Dead, Long Live SEO – Level343 (Sept 2010)

Is SEO Dead? 1997 Prediction, Meet 2009 Reality – Search Engine Land (Dec 2009)

SEO Is Dead. Again. – Marketing Pilgrim (Aug 2007)

If you are interested you can read to check out the back and forth fight about the death of SEO that has been going on forever.


How Do Search Engines Work

Search engines like Google have one objective. They want to give the searches the most relevant information when they search. Below is a simple graphic of how this works.

Google search

Search Engines Work Like Human Searches Work

This works in a similar matter to human search. Below is a graphic showing you how basic human search wants when your friend Joe asks you to find him a good baker.

Human search

Where Does SEO Fit In to This Picture

In the Forbes articleKen Krogue say’s, “So by definition even the word Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means to “game” the Google search engines (and others) to get your valuable content ranked higher than it would be if left alone to the forces of the Web.” I don’t agree with this and don’t think that the nature of Search Engine Optimization is to manipulate search engines. Google loves search engine optimization and gives you best practices to use to make sure that your website is optimized for the keywords it is about and that your site creates a wonderful experience for users. On page optimization aspects of SEO like page load time, meta titles, meta description, schema code and other micro-formating help users and search engines navigate and make decisions regarding how useful your website is to them. What Google and other search engines don’t like is when people use SEO tactics like buying back links to irrelevant websites to increase their rankings or people just creating spam websites and using SEO to rank well for several keywords just so they can make money from advertising.

The Now and Tomorrow of SEO

I’m all about biology and studying nature. I learned a long time ago and often write about symbiotic relationships. This is the type of situation where all parties benefit from the relationship. This can be demonstrated in the relationship between the Flower and a Bee. The Bee pollinates the flower and the flower feeds the Bee, neither of them are parasites and just take from the other. Symbiotic relationships are what ecosystems are built on and what powers the Earth. Search engines have started to weed out the parasites that use SEO to manipulate the system with out giving real value  and use social media and social signals to do two things:

1. Create Value By Tracking Social Likes and Leveraging Your Social Relationship:

Social Search: If you “Like” something, Tweet something, + something etc this is connected to your Social Graph. Search engines remember these social interests and make them more important to you in your searches. In this way they are trying to create a symbiotic relationship saying, we know what you like because you told us, now we are going to make sure you find it quickly when you are looking for it. They also use social signals to show your friends who are in your social networks what things you like because they know friends usually listen to friends. Bing just shifted heavily to this model as seen in the video below. Google does this as well if you are signed into a Google account but in more subtle ways.

2.Signal If Website Has Valuable Content And Are Relevant Now:
Creative Content Is King:
Great content is really what adds value to the users. When a user finds great content they share it via social media using Tweets, Likes, +1 etc. This lets the search engines know that this content is relevant now, worthy for others to see, and is valuable to the user. They then give this content more worth and higher rankings in the search results.

This is what is happening now and will evolve as search engines get smarter. This evolution can be seen even more in Local SEO where static Google Places pages have been transitioned into dynamic Google+ Local pages, which have many social aspects. Vivial specializes in local seo so we are always evolving and helping our clients excel in optimization for mobile and local search. We understand the changes at hand, have predictions of our own, and always stay agile and educated so we can leverage what’s new for our clients.

So What Does The Death Evolution of SEO Really Mean For You?

Google and other search engines are leading the charge toward social search and they are just dictating where you need to be. This means that:
1. Your SEO team needs to understand social media and how to leverage it for your company.
2. The days of sitting on the Social Media side lines are over and you will be come extinct if your company can not adapt and embrace the change
3. For local businesses this means you have to have a Google+ Local page and a Yelp page in order to compete in the mobile and local search results.
4. This also means that your content must improve to add value to website visitors.
5. Your online marketing strategy must be holistic and work together and should be broken up into parts.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If the title seems strange for you I created it after reading the SEO joke below that my SEO team found. I thought it was fitting because keywords and keyword research, which is a basis of SEO will never die and only evolve as our language does.
seo joke